Salvation Army in Sri Lanka assists dump disaster victims

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After addressing immediate needs, The Salvation Army will provide long-term assistance to those who lost their homes in the disaster.

By Peter McGuigan –

The Salvation Army in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is working alongside government and humanitarian agencies to support people who lost their homes when a 290-foot-high waste dump collapsed, engulfing at least 145 houses. At least 30 people were killed and another 30 were reported as missing in the disaster, which occurred on April 14, Good Friday—also, by rare occurrence, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The Salvation Army provided meals for approximately 550 people. More than 1,000 people whose homes were either destroyed or weakened are being housed in local schools and with family and friends. Government emergency workers continue to work on clearing the disaster site, and a spokesperson said the dump will be relocated.

Major P. Ranjith Senaratne, leader of The Salvation Army’s Western Division, says the tragedy will impact people’s lives for years to come. “Many people are in shock,” Senaratne said. “Salvation Army officers have been on hand to talk with victims as well as provide for their immediate needs. Some have lost loved ones and many have lost their homes and need our support, both now and into the future.”

The Salvation Army will work alongside other organizations and government agencies toward the provision of a longer-term solution to the problems created by the dump’s collapse.

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